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China has fined Tencent for endangering minors as it continues to investigate the country’s social media platforms for the lack of privacy and safety of children using the internet.

The authorities alleged super app WeChat’s ’youth mode’ does not comply with laws protecting minors, even though the mode prevents younger users from accessing payments, playing certain games and finding nearby friends.

“We will earnestly inspect and check the functions of WeChat youth mode, accept user suggestions humbly and sincerely respond to civil public-interest litigation,“ Tencent said in a statement.

Why has Tencent been fined?

  • The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) previously singled out Kuaishou, Tencent’s messaging tool QQ, Alibaba’s Taobao, and Weibo for not cleaning up seven types of illegal content.

  • These include children on live streams and becoming social media influencers, promoting “money worship“ and extravagance, pornographic and violent content, inappropriate cartoons that had erotic and violent content.

  • China has also labeled esports and gaming as “opium for the mind” to children, forcing gaming companies like Tencent to scrambling to introduce new measures to protect minors.

  • Tencent has since announced new measures after noting “relevant authorities” had requested greater protection of minors in gaming and for firms to carry out their “societal responsibility.“

  • The new restrictions, which will initially apply only to hit game Honor of Kings, will stop children under the ages of 12 from spending money on the game and further reduce the duration they can play each day from 1.5 hours to one hour normally, and from three hours to two hours on holidays.